River cruising is a great way to explore a destination. Simply hire a small boat that will take you to the rainforest and see the beautiful wildlife creatures that inhabit the area. You also get to witness scenic landscapes along canals and lagoons that can be hundreds of kilometers long. Here are 4 of the best river cruises around the world.
4 River Cruising Adventures You Shouldn’t Miss
1. The Backwaters in Kerala, India
India is home to some of the world’s beautiful mountain resorts, beaches and historical attractions. One of the good reasons why you should try river cruising in India is the backwaters located in Kerala. The scenic canals and lagoons that are hundreds of kilometers long will take every tourist to the three main backwaters of Kerala, namely the Vembanad, the Kannur-Valiyaparambu, and the Astamudi Lake.
Cruising along Vembanad will take you to the Kottayam, Ernakulam and Alapuzha districts, where you can find Vembanadu Lake, the longest lake in Southeast Asia. You will be able to explore the town’s most beautiful and picturesque lagoon networks which make it a favorite spot for tourists from all over the world. Kumarakom village, which is found in Alapuzha region, is home to celebrity holiday residences and a bird sanctuary.
The best way to explore the beautiful backwaters of Kerala is to ride on kettuvallams. These are roofed boats; measuring about 70 feet long and can carry up to 70 tons. These traditional vessels are made of wooden planks secured together with coconut ropes and were originally utilized for transportation among the locals.
Over the years, Kettuvallams are converted for cruising and tourism purposes. Each houseboat is fully equipped with bars, toilets, kitchens and bedrooms. There are also the navigation crew and the kitchen staff on board. So as you hop on board to enjoy the picturesque, historical and cultural spots that the backwaters of Kerala, you will be able to enjoy delicious meals and drinks.
Cruising packages are being offered by various tour groups around the region at different rates, depending on the season. Usually, the cruising itinerary will include stopovers at significant historical landmarks along the backwaters. Some will even allow you to go swimming at some spots.
2. The Great Brazilian River
Rio Negro is one of tourist attractions in Brazil and the best way to explore this place is through river cruising. Simply hire a small boat and you will be able to explore the rainforest and see the beautiful wildlife creatures that inhabit the area. The locals are the best tour guides and will take you to the best spots for wildlife viewing and the fascinating flora found along the river.
If you want the more comfortable and luxurious experience, there are also motorized yachts that are fully equipped with observation decks, salons, and bathrooms.
Exploring the beautiful Rio Negro is not enough for just a day. If you plan to stay overnight, there are plenty of accommodations that can be found within the vicinity. You can even opt to stay at hacienda-style hotels around Manaus City and along the river banks. There are also tourism lodges that also offer outdoor activities like rainforest expeditions, canoeing and horseback riding, which enables you to learn more about the culture of the place and be involved in their conservation efforts to reach out to the future generations.
3. The Sepik River in Papua New Guinea
Known as the longest river in the beautiful island of Papua New Guinea, the Sepik River is another version of South America’s Amazon River. While it may be considered one of the most remote places in the world, taking on a river cruise along the Sepik River will take you to an experience filled with surprises and treats.
In order to enjoy the beauty that Sepik River can offer, you can cruise through the most traditional way by riding on the dugout canoe offered by outfitters. However, if you want a more relaxed and comfortable cruising experience, you can also rent out larger boats which are offered by two companies in Papua New Guinea. The cruise will usually last from 1 to 2 days, with their itineraries usually including exploration of various waterways and some villages in Sepik.
MV Sepik Spirit is one of the popular river boats and floating lodge that is found in Kamininbit village. The boat will take you to the cultural heritage of the island. River cruising in the Sepik River will pass along Blackwater Lakes, Chambri Lakes, and Upper and Middle Sepik villages. At various stops, you will have the chance to interact with the locals and learn about their practices and beliefs. Staying overnight is not a problem. There are plenty of varied accommodations which you can book through your travel agency. You can opt to stay in Karawari Lodge or Wilderness Lodge for a more luxurious stay.
4. The Scenic Yangtze River
China is rich with history and beautiful tourist spots which have gained popularity around the world. If you want to explore what China has to offer, take on a cruise along the scenic Yangtze River. It is known as the cradle of Chinese civilization and has always been the country’s major and important route for transportation.
The Yangtze River is known for being one of the longest rivers in the world. With a distance of 6,380 kilometers, there are plenty of things to see, explore and experience during your cruise. You will be taken to deep gorges, high mountains, crystal clear waterways, rich forests, and towering rock formations.
The Chongqing – Yichang route is the most common route because it takes the shortest time but definitely features the most important spots of the river. Another route, the Chongqing – Nanjing, takes longer time but will show you the bounty and grandeur of South China. Because it takes longer, you will have more time to explore the beauty of the river and know more about the history and culture of the place. You may take on Victoria Prince Cruises which offers the longest cruise routes, starting at Chongqing and finishing at Shanghai. The cruise route takes you to Wushan, Nanjing and Mt. Huangshan, and other historical and cultural spots in Yangtze.